Public reception areas of the Château de Fontainebleau
Launch of an extensive restoration and modernisation programme
Or how to manage a growing number of visitors without expanding the walls?
The Fontainebleau national estate and its castle have been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1981. Here reigns a compendium of the history of France. Today it is a castle-museum, in the same way as Versailles. Here, like nowhere else, a historical stratification remains where each era has left its mark.
The complex edifice is the result of multiple architectural changes, from medieval times to the Second Empire. With more than 1,500 rooms set in the heart of 130 hectares of park and gardens, Fontainebleau is the only royal and imperial castle to have been inhabited continuously for eight centuries. The Établissement Public du Château de Fontainebleau is launching a vast programme of restoration and modernisation of the Château (2015-2026), as well as its outbuildings, the aim of which is to preserve, conserve and enhance an exceptional heritage in order to pass it on to future generations and open it up to as many people as possible. One of the operations of the first phase of the Master Plan for the renovation of the Fontainebleau National Estate was the modernisation of the Louis XV wing. These are the reception areas of the château, laid out in a series of rooms or cells of the same size, making up the ground floor of the Louis XV wing.
These are the reception areas of the château, laid out in a series of rooms or cells of the same size, making up the ground floor of the Louis XV wing. Each cell has a unique function: individual ticketing, group ticketing, cloakrooms, audio-guides, information, etc.
The reception monoliths
A set of monolithic furniture is arranged in the centre of each room in the row along the large gallery. This arrangement frees up the walls on the periphery. Their unencumbered layouts bear witness to the architectural plurality of the ‘Maison des Siècles’.
It is a flexible ring made up of interlocking glass modules in which the LED sources are hidden. The droplets, which are facetted on the inside, are made from Fontainebleau sand, reputed to give the clearest glass in Europe.
The reception monoliths
Glass monoliths freely arranged in the middle of the rooms discreetly reveal the image of the stone.
A set of monolithic furniture is arranged in the centre of each room in the row along the large gallery. This arrangement frees up the walls on the periphery. Their unencumbered layouts bear witness to the architectural plurality of the ‘Maison des Siècles’. The walls of the castle, liberated from an excess of functions and information, regain their original harmony. The monoliths all have the same size, but each one has its own function, and are arranged differently in each cell.
The monoliths have a laminated glass skin enclosing a printed film. The printed image is the result of a long and complex process that combines a photographic record and a digital reconstruction. The work first consisted of a photographic survey of the Grand Antique marble present in the chapel. Then, its images were used as a precise reference for a long session of digital reconstitutions at a scale of one, as close as possible to the real texture and materiality of the photographed marble.
The upper surface of the monoliths is made of black acrylic stone, of the Corian type, offering a continuous surface, whatever the shape of the upper plateau. The storage units and drawers built into the furniture are large enough to adapt to any size of nomadic supports and ticketing equipment, with respect to technological developments.
Interlocking Crystal droplets form a sinuous ring with multiple reflections.
One of the components of the new fittings is a chandelier principle designed especially for the Château de Fontainebleau. It is a flexible ring made up of interlocking glass modules in which the LED sources are hidden. The droplets, which are facetted on the inside, are made from Fontainebleau sand, reputed to give the clearest glass in Europe. It is notably used in Murano, but also in perfumery, to give a crystalline appearance to perfume bottles. The chandelier draws a different undulation depending on the cell where it is located, while describing a strictly circular movement in a horizontal projection. The chandeliers are suspended in the centre of each room. They are surrounded by two large mirrors arranged vertically on either side of the room. Their undulating shapes are reflected differently depending on the angle of view. Thus, each reflection in the mirror has a unique form so that the same chandelier reflects several shapes in space.
The Great Gallery
The layout of the Grande Galerie along the alveoli is in the same purified spirit and seeks to create a great unity and a certain sobriety. The gallery is punctuated by large open doors to the cells, facing the bay windows overlooking the central courtyard. Between the bay windows, busts are placed on slender pedestals and integrated into the architecture of the place. Finally, the ceiling is punctuated by a series of chandeliers of the same nature as those in the cells.
Seating is set up all along the visit, on the outskirts of the spaces. At the level of the Grande Galerie, the seats are set slightly back in the window openings, which benefit from pleasant natural light. In each alcove dedicated to the cloakroom, a bench is placed along the wall.
Restructuring and modernisation of the reception area of the Château de Fontainebleau
1 000 m2
Projectiles, architect (project manager)
lbe (groupe Nox), fluids engineering
Bureau Michel Forgue, Construction Economics
L’autobus impérial, graphic design + signage
Opérateur du patrimoine et des projets immobiliers de la culture (OPPIC)
CONCEPT DESIGN 2017 → 2018
CONSTRUCTION 2018 → 2019
IN USE 2019
© Vincent Fillon
© Gilles Coulon,Tendance Floue, Oppic